Mr B is In The Wars.
No, I promise I have been kindness itself towards him. Nor has he been in a fight (being a little too
old for fisticuffs) or tripped up over the holes in the ground left by the gasmen as they made their slow progress along our road. In short, he owes his present state of fragility to a wisdom tooth and a visit to the dentist.
Fortunately, the extraction of his troublesome wisdom tooth did not require admission to hospital or a general anaesthetic; instead we travelled down town by bus this morning, arriving at our dental
practice just four minutes before his scheduled appointment. We whiled away the bus journey talking about Dentists We Have Met and shared the fact that, as children, our visits to the dentist were always accompanied by the dread of the mask which would
be placed over our faces, pumping out sweet-smelling gas which would send us into momentary oblivion, before we were wrenched back into the present, feeling sick and shaky. Not to mention minus a tooth. Whether this was an ideal conversation with which
to take Mr B’s mind off his impending treatment, I am far from sure. Dental treatment is so, so much better these days, I comforted him as we alighted from the bus and I prepared to steer him in the direction on the dentist’s surgery (just
in case he might decide to cut and run.)
Mr B is, to be fair, made of sterner stuff. He marches purposefully towards the surgery, needing no steer from me.
I trot alongside him wondering whether it was a good idea to have come into town by bus and whether he will feel up to the trip home – or should we have driven? Mr B and I hardly ever take the car into town these days; it is part of our Retirement Plan
to hop on a bus whenever possible. It took me ages to persuade Mr B that this would be The Way to Go but now he is a convert. Still, perhaps there are exceptions to the rule?
We don’t have long to wait before the dentist appears to invite Mr B to join her in her surgery. She has assumed a sympathetic expression and a “Who’s a Brave Boy?” voice. He follows her along the corridor like a lamb, leaving
me in the waiting room to read the paper and worry.
It feels like a long time before he emerges, clutching a list of instructions for after care which he hands
to me. From this simple action, I assume that I have been appointed his nurse until such a time as he is fully recovered. The dentist tells him he has done “very well”. He basks in her admiration.
Now here’s the thing. It seems to me that there are various attitudes a nurse can adopt when dealing with a recovering patient. There is the Stiff Upper Lip, Don’t Mention The War attitude which does its
best to ignore the fact that the patient may be in any discomfort whatsoever. O r the It Could Be A Great Deal Worse approach which brushes aside even the mildest of complaints with examples of dire consequences of similar treatment suffered by others,
I decide to take my lead from the dentist and adopt the “You Are A Hero” approach. This involves lots of sympathy; frequent
offers of luke-warm drinks to be quaffed through the straws bought for the grandchildren’s use; timely administration of antibiotics and pain-killers; and understanding pats on the cheek. The latter, while undoubtedly comforting in principle, does depend
on remembering which cheek is the sore one in order to avoid one’s patient jumping around the room and howling in pain and displeasure.
Mr B will doubtless check on today's Daily Blog before
he goes to bed, to ensure that I have not taken his name (or his pain and suffering) in vain. I can assure you all that I haven't.
Every word is the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the